Samsung and LGs corporate war is well documented, but in spite of all the legal battles, impressive trade show prototypes and millions spent on development, neither company appears anywhere nearer releasing their newest OLED TV. In a series of articles we look at the problems in mass producing large OLED displays, and some of the people who may have the solution.
It was as late as last month that LG and Samsung– in a PR exercise largely perceived as being a moment of rare collaboration- announced that, contrary to all intentions at the beginning of 2012, they would not be releasing either of their much vaunted 55 inch OLED TV screens. Both the Samsung ES9500 and the LG 55EM9600 had received rave reviews and awards at their various appearances at leading electronics fairs across the globe; but despite having huge demand and price tags of approximately $10,000 USD, both companies were anticipated to make little money on their sale.
Having had potential release dates put back repeatedly, it finally emerged that neither would have their TVs in mass production in time for Christmas, 2012. The costs of production and the damage that would be done to profits by converting lines at existing factories for OLED caused the delay. But why are costs so high they make mass production prohibitive?
Quite simply, the method of production is expensive: OLED production requires a perfect permeation seal as it is highly sensitive to both air and water, which is expensive and prone to defects. The cost of this technology is heightened by the fact that it is largely out of date and not efficient for the job to which it has been applied. This, coupled with archaic quartz micro balances (QCM’s) used to measure the extremely thing OLED surfaces, leads to a very low, expensive yield.
Although it’s natural to think that the millions spent by large corporations would have produced solutions to these issues, they appear to remain largely unattended. However, smaller, independent innovators many miles away in the United States may already have developed methods which could make large screen OLED production many times more reliable and they currently have their headquarters in the town of Gilbert, Arizona…….